Yahoo! News’ Bombshell Hire: AFP’s Olivier Knox

Yahoo! News has swooped in and hired Olivier Knox, formerly a congressional correspondent for Agence France-Presse. He is their first White House Correspondent. Knox had been with AFP for more than a decade.

Knox told FishbowlDC: “July would have made it 16 years at AFP,” he wrote in an email. “They hired me right out of SAIS. I’m thrilled, and I guess a little nervous. This is a phenomenal, can’t-turn-it-down opportunity to push myself while working with a team of all-stars. I would be remiss if I didn’t use this opportunity to remember my late mentor, Peter Mackler, to whom I owe all that is good about my reporting (all that’s bad is entirely mine).”

In a early morning release, they explained that Knox has covered “almost every facet of the political story, from presidential campaigns to Congressional drama to the real-world implications of policy decisions at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. As the White House Correspondent, Olivier will bring that broad and deep perspective in his original reporting to the Yahoo! News audience, providing both timely coverage of critical events and a unique perspective on how and why developments in Washington matter for the nation as a whole.”

They cite his keen reporting skills: “Olivier has delivered exclusive takes and scoops and news, including his on-the-scene report of the infamous shoe-throwing incident at former President George W. Bush’s 2008 press conference in Baghdad and the current GOP candidates’ growing calls for ‘covert ops’ directed against Syria. Olivier is also a social media standout, recognized for regularly breaking news on his twitter account.”

The outpouring for Knox on Twitter this morning is what is most striking — if this were a Class President election, or Miss America for that matter, Knox would win hands down — everyone from CNN’s Lizzie O’Leary and former CNNer Campbell Brown to HuffPost‘s Jennifer Bendery, CBS’s John Dickerson, Reuters‘ Sam Youngman, ABC’s Jake Tapper, TPM’s Josh Marshall, PBS’s Christina Bellantoni and The Australian‘s Business Editor Geoff Elliott, all sing his praises.

Olivier will report directly to…

Yahoo! Politics Editor Chris Suellentrop.

Yahoo’s! recent hires include Steve Chaggaris as Executive Producer, Elections, David Chalian as Washington Bureau Chief, Walter Shapiro as a contributing writer covering his ninth Presidential campaign, Hillary Frey, formerly of AdWeek, as managing editor, Sullentrop, previously an editor at NYT Magazine, as political editor, and Guy Vidra, former head of business development and emerging media at WaPo.

Knox’s press release quote…“I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the team of seasoned, dynamic professionals covering politics at Yahoo! News, and honored to serve as the organization’s first White House correspondent,” said Knox. “These are exciting times to be a journalist, and I can’t think of a better perch from which to bring the news to a vast and growing audience in the United States and around the world.”

And Chalian: “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Olivier Knox to the Yahoo! News Washington, DC bureau as our first White House correspondent. Olivier’s dogged reporting, intelligence, and storytelling will greatly benefit the vast Yahoo! audience. His thirst for a good story and ability to break news knows no bounds.”